Tourist Arrivals Continue To Grow As Korea Tourism Organization Launches K-Smile Friendliness Campaign
As the Korean tourism industry fully rebounds from the impact of the MERS outbreak earlier this year, the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) has begun promoting friendly interactions with inbound tourists as part of its new “K-Smile Friendliness Campaign”. It is the latest of several initiatives the KTO has launched in recent months to improve the nation’s service sector for international visitors.
The outbreak produced a dramatic decrease on tourism arrivals from June to August at -40% cumulatively. However, the numbers backfire at -3.1% on September immediately after Korea was declared clear from the MERS virus. These reports made Korea highly confident that it will exceed last year’s October record at 8%. KTO is also very positive that these developments will continue as more foreigners visit Korea not only for tourism and leisure but also for attending robust MICE activities hosted by the country.
Since the outbreak, KTO has been aggressive in promoting Korea in the local and international region through its 31 overseas branches spread across the Asia-Pacific, US, and Europe. KTO also launched a promotional video featuring Korean movie star Lee Minho which had over 7 million views in YouTube in just 3 days. It was also broadcasted in several major networks such as CNN and CCTV.
The K-Smile Friendliness campaign aims to raise the friendly Korean culture awareness to tourists by bolstering specialized services including accommodation, transportation, cuisine and other tourism related commodities. It is also a move made to prepare Korea in hosting upcoming events such as ‘Visit Korea 2016-2018’ and the ‘2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.’
Meanwhile, the K-Smile Friendliness campaign highly anticipates in supporting over 150 incoming incentive tours to be held in various parts of Korea this year. Support includes airport welcome events, souvenirs, custom banners, and more. MICE delegates also receive exclusive benefits and other promotional items during their stay in Korea.
The 25th International Road Congress in Seoul will be among the pioneering events to experience an all-new level of Korean charm and hospitality as the K-Smile campaign will simultaneously be present at the venue. With over 35,000 delegates from all over the world expected to attend the event, the World Road Congress is the perfect place to spread a different kind of virus – the Korean Friendliness virus.
The K-Smile campaign will set off on a multi-city relay spanning the entire peninsula and hitting 17 different cities and provinces in the following weeks. This campaign hopes to minimize any inconvenience among tourists and promote a fully satisfying travel experience in Korea.